Friday September 19th, 2008

Today is Betsy’s wedding. It the first real outing I have had since becoming sick. I had to rearrange my chemo schedule, but my oncologist thought it would be good for me, and I was determined to go. My mom buys me a fancy, sparkly black scarf and I learn how to wrap it around my head and tie it.
I take my first picture without hair. Up until today, there was nothing I wanted to remember, and I hated the way I looked. I was afraid I wouldn’t make it, and then the people I loved would look back on the pictures from this time and remember me ill and bald. Now I wish I had taken more.
I am so grateful that I am able to go; already I have missed so much. I was hospitalized during my goddaughter Eve’s first birthday party and it broke my heart. The week I was diagnosed, Beth and I had planned a surprise trip to Seattle to visit Sam, I had been looking forward to that visit for months, and I was devastated when I had to cancel. Cancer takes so much away from a person, things you would never think of until you live it day to day.
The summer for me has been filled with doctor appointments, blood draws and chemo treatments. Dealing with the side effects has become my least favorite part. I have to take a Neulasta shot after each cycle. The next day my body aches from head to toe. When I vomit and Ryan tries to rub my back I yelp in pain.
At one point I am taking 28 pills a day, between pain medication and antiemetics. They all interact and the worst part for me is the havoc they wreak on my bowels. It has made me miserable, worrying about fiber intake and hard stool. I am paranoid about eating cheese or eggs. I marvel at the time when that system worked on its own, it is hard to remember what it was like. I get a hemorrhoid and for the first time I am angry and feel this all is unjust. I definitely did not plan on dealing with that particular problem at age twenty-six. Up until this point, I was not happy, but I was accepting. I trusted God, and I knew He had a plan for me, and that however this all ended, He would see me though it and it would be for the best. But pain in my butt is just unacceptable to me. I am ticked off. Whenever I complain, my mom asks if that was all that is wrong, wanting to make sure that nothing life threatening is bothering me. I scream that it is more than enough!
When everyone returns to school and work I need to adjust to staying home alone and caring for myself all day. I am very lonely, but I am able to start watching television again. I put on the Food Network, and it seems like I leave it on forever. I find it very comforting.
During the periods when my blood counts are low I am given lots of precautions. Wash my hands constantly; force anyone else around me to do the same. Whenever I actually have enough energy to venture out to the store during this time I must wear a mask. I look like a total freak. My least favorite part is the no fresh vegetables rule. I never realized how often I eat lettuce and tomato. Nothing tastes the same without them. I crave salads and chocolate covered strawberries.

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